Over the past year and a half at every public forum, the GECOM Chairman has confirmed to the nation that once the Minister of Local Government announces a date for Local Government Elections (LGE), GECOM is ready to administer such elections in a six months timeframe. Also, reaffirming this position at a recent forum hosted by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce & Industry was the Commission’s Chief Election Officer Mr. Keith Lowenfield. At that forum Mr. Lowenfield noted that funding was already allocated for the hosting of LGE and he and his team is ready to proceed with the necessary preparations once the Minister of Local Government gives the directive to the Commission.
Now we hear publicly from politically appointed Commissioners of the Commission that the agency is not ready and that caution should be exhibited in respect to pronouncements and assumptions of GECOM’s readiness. This begs the following questions: Why after 17 years of the last elections being due, these Commissioners did not ensure that GECOM’s systems were in a state of constant readiness in the event the elections were called? How could the Chairman and the CEO get it so wrong in their estimation and make such faulty “assumptions” concerning the agency’s preparedness? Or is this whole episode just a symbolic reminder of the flaw and Achilles heel of this supposedly “independent” agency?
Whether the Chairman responds and disagrees or agrees with his colleagues’ assessment, this episode confirms that it is time to end the practice of appointing nominees whose loyalty rest with the political party that appointed them. Let’s have a professional and above board GECOM.
In the meantime, the Guyanese public remains as ready as ever for LGE.